Rehabilitation for Head and Neck Cancer Survivors

Rehabilitation for HNC Cancer

HNC cure is sometimes very dreadful. Many of the cancer survivors faces physical and psychological problems after cancer treatment. Most common problems faced by HNC survivors include:

  1. Fear of tumour progression
  2. Swallowing
  3. Difficulty in talking
  4. Swelling in the neck
  5. Decreased sense of taste

Most patients accept the physical facial defects and lack of optimal function occurred after treatment due to lack of awareness about reconstruction and rehab. But they can enjoy an optimal quality of if they get rehabilitated on time.

Rehabilitation for HNC survivors aims on assisting patients to achieve optimal physical functioning after treatment, within the limits imposed by the disease entity. Rehabilitation requires continue ongoing follow-up until patient achieves their goals or have reached their rehabilitation potential.

Rehabilitation options are Available for Head and Neck Cancer Survivors

The goal of rehabilitation is to reduce the different impairments.

Process of rehabilitation includes:

  1. Preventive

– Lesson impact of expected disabilities

2. Restorative

– Attempt to return to previous levels of functioning

3. Supportive

– Accommodate disabilities / impairments

4. Palliative

– Providing comfort and support

Rehabilitation process for HNC survivors include physical therapy, dietary counselling, speech therapy, and/or learning how to care for a stoma (opening into the windpipe through which a patient breathes after a laryngectomy, which is surgery to remove the larynx).

Sometimes HNC Cancer treatment, like oral cancer treatment, requires post treatment reconstructive and plastic surgery to rebuild bones or tissues. If it is not possible to perform reconstructive surgery, a prosthodontist may be able to make a prosthesis (an artificial dental and/or facial part) to restore satisfactory swallowing, speech, and appearance. Patients will receive special training on how to use the device.

Patients who faces difficulty in speaking after cancer treatment may require to go for speech therapy. Speech-language pathologist plan therapy and teach speech exercises or alternative methods of speaking.

Sometimes patient faces difficulty in swallowing. For such patients, nutrients are directly inserted into a vein after surgery or need a feeding tube until they can eat on their own. A feeding tube is a flexible plastic tube that is passed into the stomach through the nose or an incision in the abdomen.

Prevention, early diagnosis and rehabilitation have so far been playing second fiddle to ‘cure’.

At Prolife Cancer Center, we not only Cure HNC Cancer, but also ensure chewing, speech and aesthetics. Dr. Sumit Shah, Cancer Specialist, provide affordable and the best possible rehabilitation facilities to the patients and ensure the expected outcomes.  He specializes in minimally invasive (key-hole) surgery which includes laparoscopic and function preserving surgery for HNC cancer.